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Move-Away Moms Harm Kids

Moms who take their children and move away from their children’s fathers create life-long hardship for their children. Granted there are rare exceptions when a move may be warranted. But they far rarer than NOWers admit. Generally, move-away-moms move primarily for their own best interest and not their children’s. Children who lose their biological fathers for no reason other than maternal malice, greed or other child-negating interests are children who are put at a life long disadvantage in every area from self esteem to academic success. The simple fact is, physically present biological fathers will have a vastly more significant positive influence on their children than any non-related boyfriends or step fathers will. Children who are robbed of their biological fathers are children more often at risk.

Pennsylvania law, in August 2000, recognized this and now gives the children of our commonwealth at least a fighting chance to prevent a malicious mother from robbing them of their father’s presence with an unnecessary move away. The law was decided in the Gruber case where the court recognized for the first time that the monetary best interest of the mother is not identical to the best interest of the child. Now in Pennsylvania, in theory at least, a mother cannot simply pick up the children and move off to Kansas with her rich new boyfriend while harming her children in the process.

Despite this good news, there is an insidious backlash movement brewing. PCNC’s Ann Devlin aired a segment last night, 7/29/05 on the hardship women face when they cannot move away at will. We were even told children’s need for access to their father was merely archaic Pennsylvanian “provincialism.” This resurging move-away ideology has also been supported by judges like Kim Eaton of Allegheny County Pennsylvania, who recently ignored the Gruber test and decided a wealthy step father who’d only known the child for a short time was more important to the child than the child’s biological father who had been a daily presence in the child’s life for nearly ten years. Happily Eaton’s decision was overturned on appeal, and that child now lives with his biological father. But no doubt neither Judge Eaton nor others will desist in their attempts to choose maternal greed over good parenting. What makes this particularly frightening is that the move to embrace economics over inalienable rights seems to be a national trend in other areas as well; we merely need to remember Justice Souter’s Supreme Court decision that turned eminent domain into imminent domain in Connecticut.

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  • Dennis

    Hello I’ve spend a bit of time reading these posts and must say a very wide range of opinion here and hurt feelings. I for one will find out tomorrow if my soon to be ex wife will be able to move 10 hrs away with our 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son. I feel sick to my stomach butI will say she is a good caring mother and she just wants to go home and i do understand it. What is hard is that i’ve have always been a dad who does all of the stuff with our kids from the beginning from the getting up at night to spell her feedings, doctor appts, taking them everywhere with me.
    I know before i moved out i had 3 job ops for her in her field non paying less than 50 k a year. The hrs for 2 of the jobs were 7am to 330 pm plus we had a person to watch our kids and workout the school times.

    When I moved out to took only 4 beer mugs and 4 steak knives and an old tv. I set up her with 3200 a month plus paid the power bill and renters insurance. I picked up my kids everyother day and every weekend. She of course wants to go home to be near family she is all alone here and its hard for her to make friends. I cant lie i find myself worrying about her as much as the kids and not a day goes by where i really dont know what is right. I love my kids we golf they love to boat and go to my teams football games and be around the guys they are just great kids.

    When I see her in pain I do feel bad but she is pissed at me she fires some ugly things in front of the kids I dont say anything back I feel like i owe her since i moved out. But after her turning down the 3 jobs chances and now she says she cant make end meet i dont know what to do. she says i dont care about my kids and all of that mess which is not true. I do the parent teach meetings i still take off work to go see there school activities i enjoy them every day like its gonna be my last.

    I now in frustration she says they are leaving and the kids will hate me because i hurt their mother by leaving but it does get old.

    I have no idea what is right i know that we both love the kids. I know that we want them to be good citizens and parents some day but how do we do it in such an ugly process?

  • ted smith

    my sons mother took my son and moved away in december of last year. I was refused the opportunity many times by her to see my son. on her sporadic whims was i able to see my son for an hour or two(literally). we had a court order dated in may of 08, and then updated in november, and then again on december 11, 2008. shortly thereafter she moved in the middle of the night and i found out that she had married a member of the united states army. she didnt notify me or the courts that she was moving and has not updated her address or phone number as required in the court order. I provide for my son through child support. She moved away to

    1. keep me away from my son and
    2. be with her husband if she had gone through the courts our custody would have been modified and she would be more than able to move where she so desires. To just up and leave with a standing court order in place opens the door for petitions of contempt of orders for custody/visitation to be filed against them. to move where it is beneficial for the parent is one thing, to move where it is beneficial for the child is another matter all together. My sons mother is currently in contempt and i am filing another petition to have them start imposing the sanctions that come along with it. Fines and possible imprisionment if she does not comply with the december court order giving me shared custody of my son. yes it it a two way street for mothers and fathers. what it comes down to is the love that both have for their child. I have handled this case from the start without a lawyer and so far i have been right every time with my arguments and case facts. SO IF FOR WHATEVER REASON YOU DO NOT HAVE AN ATTORNEY/LAWYER DO NOT GIVE UP. EVERY CHILD DESERVES TO SEE THEIR PARENTS. LOCAL LAW LIBRARIES HAVE THE NECESSARY FORMS TO DO ANYTHING THAT YOU NEED TO GET DONE.
    [personal contact info deleted]

  • Tess

    Wait a minute…couldn’t we just as easily talk about this issue in terms of selfish stay-put dads who refuse to relocate themselves in order to be near their child after the move-away mom has established residence where she is best able to provide for the child? Why is it the mom’s sole responsibility to make the sacrifice to live where it is not most suitable for her in order to maintain proximity to the dad, whose preference is to stay put? Why are move-away moms so much more criticized than move-away dads who can pursue their own best interests by moving away from their child without any court interference or sanction? If keeping Bubba near Daddy is of such supreme importance that Mom should sacrifice her own welfare and best interests, then the courts could provide sanctions to discourage Daddy from moving away too, but they do not. Moms have rights too, y’all, and Dads have just as much responsibility to preserve proximity as Moms do. It’s just too bad the courts and society in general doesn’t see it that way.

  • Hurt Father

    Robin, I feel for you in your situation, but have you given any thought to giving your ex primary custody, moving closer to home and then you get to “see her for the summer and for Christmas Holidays and spring break”? I think the people that think that think a parent seeing the children every other weekend or “for the summer and for Christmas Holidays and spring break” are not on that side of the visitation schedule. If you think that is a fair schedule you should be the one to have such limited visitation

    In July 2008, after 10 years of marriage, my wife decided to take the children and try to move from GA to PA. I was not and am not an absentee father by any stretch of the imagination. I am the one who got the children up in the morning, took them to the school bus, helped with homework, put them to bed. stayed with them when they had nightmares (while my ex would just tell them to go back to bed), go to school meeting and events, took them to the park, coached them in soccer, etc. All the while my ex would sit on the couch and watch tv. After finding out my ex enrolled the children in school in PA 3 days after she left I was able to get an emergency hearing. The judge told her he couldn’t order her back to GA, but that she would be responsible for having the kids to me for visitation from 6:00pm Friday until 6:00 Sunday every weekend. When her layer told the judge that would be impossible since PA was 12 hours away the judge said, “She took them to PA, she can damn well figure out how to get them back here every weekend!” Her lawyer asked my lawyer to talk and they suggested that I let her move back into the GA house with the children and pay all the bills in return for every other weekend visitation. As I (wrongly) assumed that we would be able to work out the divorce and a better visitation schedule quickly, I agreed. Had I known what a crappy deal this was I would never had agreed.

    It has now been almost a year-and-a-half. If that time she has made no effort to compromise on ANYTHING. I have invited her to come to church with the kids and I as well as other functions. I have made an effort to show the children that while their mother and I aren’t living together anymore we are still their parents and love them very much. Both my daughter and I have asked for more visitation time and my wife has said no to everything.

    In October of 2008 I made a settlement and parenting plan proposal that gave her primary custody with me having very liberal visitation. I also proposed that she would have the house and all the furnishings. She summarily dismissed everything.

    Shortly after that, my daughter (who is 10) broke down and told me that she doesn’t want to live with her mother and wanted to know why she couldn’t live with me. This would happen every Sunday night she was with me when I was putting her to bed. She would tell me that her mom didn’t spend any time with her, wouldn’t tuck her back in if she had a nightmare. didn’t play with her or pay any attention to her. I decided that it was in the children’s best interest to fight for custody.

    We went through a custody evaluation where I told the truth and my ex and her family (who all have the agenda to get the children to PA) lied about things to make me look bad. The decided that my ex should have primary custody, I should have liberal visitation and that the judge should NOT allow the children to be moved from GA as it would be emotionally damaging to them to be moved from me.

    We go to court in May and my lawyer thinks we have a shot at keeping the children in GA but warns me not to get my hopes up. If things don’t go my way I will have to figure out how to sell the house and find a job up to PA where I know nobody (at least my ex has an uncle that lives 20 minutes away down in GA). This will be tough given the economic times we live in.

    My point to this long (and somewhat rambling) post is that my children’s lives are in GA. They have only attended school here. Their friends are here. There father and mother (at least right now) are here. A child psychologist has stated that a move would be emotionally damaging for the children. Yet despite all that, my ex still says that it is in the children’s best interest to move to PA. She says this only because it is in her best interest and she assumes that anything in her best interest is in the children’s best interest.

    Parents have to put their own feelings aside in divorce and custody cases. Custody and visitation matter are ONLY about the best interest of the children and parents have to understand that their best interests are not always the children’s best interests.

    Sorry for the long post.

  • Julia

    For some couples who intend to get a divorce, they sometimes forget to ask their children about their feeling about it. They fail to see that their children may feel emotional abuse on the whole process of divorce. With the separation, as a beginning of a new life for divorced parents, children had to know their new responsibilities, including trying to do very best tot to save their kids from the bad effects of divorce.

  • jdcarmine

    Divorce is just about always child abuse, but the psychologists and lawyers and judges and women’s studies teachers certainly don’t seem to mind that part at all. After all the American economy is primarily a service economy, and the divorce/child abuse industry is perhaps one of our leading industries. So don’t anticipate much change any time soon.

  • Socks65

    There seem to be a lot of generalizations on father in this blog. The statistics posted are good information but too easily can be misconstrued. For example: “20.0% of non-custodial mothers pay support at some level
    61.0% of non-custodial fathers pay support at some level” could simply be because there are more non-custodial fathers then mothers, not becasue the non-custodial fathers are more responsible. I believe statistics serve a certain purpose but it is still jsut numbers on paper. I have to agree with Steve S. when he said “When it comes to the statistics, I have to fall back on my life experiences.”
    I am a move away Mom. My children were close to their father until he himself moved to the next state over. He was never consistent with his visits with his kids and constantly changed the weekends he would ‘choose’ to see them. I was constnatly having to explain to them why Daddy was not coming agin this weekend. I never said a bad word to them about him becasue I did not feel this is right. He also never paid his child support on time, treated the children like his property rather then the people they really are. When I wanted to move to Arizona to better our lives he signed off on the court papers to let us move in exchange for money. He constnatly maninulated the children, and in our last court battle when things did not go his way he simply stopped respnding the the order to sign the paperwork to continue the proceedings.
    All four of our children do not wish to speak to him even though I have told them, especially now that they are adults, that they might want to consider communication if not for him then for themselves for closure. You might be thinking I did this to my kids and turned them against him but even though I felt he did not deserve the wonderful children he has I did not want to hurt them by encouaging them to break communication.
    Do I regret moving farther away from him with them? No. Simply because he himself made it clear that the kids were second to everything else in his life. In fact, several years after we moved to Arizona he and his latest wife moved to Texas from the Pacific Norhtwest where we previously resided. Now, he not only moved all those miles from where his family lived and he grew up he also was still just as far away from his own children.
    As the kids mother I would have loved it if they all could have maintained a healthy relationship in spite of our divorce. I gave the benefit of the doubt to try and help make this happen until I could no longer watch them get hurt by him.
    Yes, children do need their fathers, when those fathers are willing to be fathers.
    When talking about children needing to be clsoe to their fathers I am sorry but not all biological fathers are a good influence and not all step-fathers are evil tormentors who do not love their non-biological children. When the biological father is a terrible parent and the non-bilogical father is not is it fair for the biological father to be able to interfer in what direction this family takes themselves just becasue the courts say he can? I think not. I feel these cases need to be taken case by case and not generalized with staistics and lumping everyone together.

  • Joe

    The mother of my two children 1 & 2 just up and left when I was at work, good thing I called home before my daughter got out of school, If I didn’t she (9) would have been stuck outside till I got home at 6:30pm. She left for an Internet affair never met this person. I have not heard from them since. My daughter & I are sick with worry & with missing them, I am doing all I can to get help for my children but every state & law office turns me away, telling me there’s nothing they can do. I do not know if they are OK, I love my children with all my heart and will keep trying , I will find a way to get them the help they need & deserve, they have the right to a normal life.

  • Amy

    My husband is the man and unfortunately the dad they are talking about in the above article. His former wife moved with his kids and her new husband half way across the country. He pays thousands of dollars a month and gets to see his kids a couple of times a year. It is so expensive to fly out there rent a car/hotel/plane ticket and the kids are now not apart of our family, their dads family and their moms family who lives by us as well. It is terribly unfortunate, and the only reason she moved is to start over with her new husband. He misses them terriblly!


    Ronny May 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm #
    Take things to their logical conclusion. Fathers and children diserve a relationship. But how many times is the mother selfish or using the court system and the father as a tool to hurt the father? In the process the courts and the mother end up hurting the child as well. The child is a composite of both parents and to tell the child that dad “doesn’t matter”, which is exactly what you are communicating to the child, and what many malicious mothers want expressed flagrently to hurt any good dad in the worst way, is to tell the child 1/2 of them does’nt matter either. How is this in the “best interest of the child”? It is not.

    Further, losing one parent is a debate for you? Not if you are the parent and/or child and not if you know you are a good parent. The only ones who would agree with move aways are feminists “helping women” and lawyers and the government who make money by this legalized kidnapping. Again, how often are you feeding into the malicious plans of a malignant mother when you allow this?

    If there is a move, and the mover is making an improvement in their life financially, let them compensate the parent left behind who now will have added costs and burdens to see his own child. Why doesn’t the family court system look at what would be just instead of ruinning the father’s life. It is no wonder many fathers simply give up. They have nothing left.

    Move aways have so many ramifications and place an extreme strain on the relationship of the father and child. Is this not playing into the malicious mother’s goal? As a separate unit, this not only wreaks havoc with the bonding of father and child, but the places financial burdens, time burdens and oftne loss of career as the father struggles to maintain a relationship with the child. With the malicious mother moved out of state, what is to stop her from starting to make excuses, “car doesn’t work”, “junior wants to go over a friend’s this weekend”……….What protection does the father and child have against this abuse? Unless he has infinite amount of money and can pull strings, the average father will have NO recourse.

    The reality is mothers can be abusive. In these cases, abusive mother displayed abusive and selfish behavior in the marriage. And then placed all the blame on the father. Go to court, vilify him and get everything, including being able to move out of state eventually. the mother, who receives a professional degree for a better life out of state was more than likely helped by her husband and was supposed to give him a hand up the ladder. Instead, she gets what she wants from him, blames him, divoreces, moves out of state all with the full blessing of the state.

    Good fathers are then not allowed to be fathers and abusive mothers are rewarded and encouraged by a corrupt system. This is from a “family” court system that many people would describe over all as incompetent or biased against fathers. These are violations of basic human rights of fathers and children.

  • jdcarmine

    Ronny, I completely agree with you! There is a wonderful organization of which I am a member: They have pushed to make Parental Alienation Syndrome a consideration for mothers to lose custody. Yes third wave feminism has been nothing but an excuse for child abuse and father absence.


    Thank you jdcarmine. I know about the organization. I applaud their efforts certainly and I am in touch with them also. I sent them a small contribution a few days ago ironically. Of course what I sent was a very small amount and I imagine so many fathers cannot afford much more either. It seems their efforts (understandably so) are confined mainly to Massuchusetts.

    This is a lobby/money issue where feminist groups receive millions from taxpayer money, the govt profits from child support and jailing fathers, and kidnapping their children….
    It is truly a mess and driven by greed and corruption and double standards, and vilification of fathers. I see no end in sight. There are too many incentives for things to remain as they are. I would wonder how many of these people so quick to deny good fathers access to their own children would tolerate this cruelty if they were the ones denied access to their own child?

  • sandra

    I agree to a degree, if the father is looking after his child and spending quality time together than yes I agree. My husband had left us 5 weeks ago, without even trying to see can we work it out and reconcile. Our child is 4 years old, nearly 5 and all of those years he paid little or no attention to him, our family outings were going food shopping on sundays, he took him to the park 3 times, he never really did much with him. Now when he left he still can’t spend any quality time with the child, he’s coming home for a diner every evening and spends 30 mins tops in play or conversation with the child. Or still goes with us to do food shopping at the weekend. I know we still might reconcile after it sinks what he really did but if not I’m seriously thinking of moving far away with the child to be closer to my family and have some support.

  • amy charles

    More attacks on moms, nice.

    I’m a custodial mom who wrote daily visitation into the decree. My ex has some problems that made extended stayovers inadvisable, but I still felt it was important that he be in our child’s life. Now he’s finally found a girlfriend — and within five months of starting to date this woman, he’s decided to move away to her town, and cut his visitation days in half.

    He’s been deeply unpleasant to deal with all along, and I should be saying “good riddance”. Instead I just hurt for my kid. Someday she’ll be old enough to understand the kinds of choices he made, and how much they had to do with his needs rather than her own.

    I patiently await the call to court so that the girlfriend can try to skin us out of child support via my his actions. Lotsa luck to her, I’m way ahead of her.

    The kicker? He goes around trying to tell people that I have borderline personality disorder. Apparently this is the new “It’s her fault, she made me do it.” Fortunately I’ve lived here a lot longer than he has, and people know me pretty well, know how seriously to take what he says.

  • Abby

    Im a mother…. Ive been deciding on moving with my 2 year old child… NOT because it benifits my selfish needs.. we live in a dead end town. I believe my son can do GREAT things… but I dont think great things can be done in this town.My sons father is basically a father when HE wants to be or when it will benifit him. He sees my son a few hours every second or third day. He will also make plans with us and then blow them off because a “friend” showed up and expects us to wait all day for him.. Hes bought my son a few things he actually needs other then that its toys or birthday gifts and christmas gifts. Im the main provider putting food in his stomach and clothes on his back, I get no support because he chooses not to work becuase he knows he wont be forced to pay support. What Im trying to say is… I see opertunity in moving for my child not only myself… theres much more to do in a bigger city for him activity wise as theres nothing really child oriented here, as well as better schools for when the time comes. And yes theres better school and job opertunitys for myself as it also benefits me and I have thought long and hard about moving and Im still at a cross roads as of if I should or not move.. what will be best for my child.. and right now it is leaning on the moving side… It not like i wont let my sons father see him… he will just have to put much more effort into seeing him if we do… because in my opinion… hes taking it for granted.Ive told him countless times that he can see our child and stay with us if needed when he visits. But hes not the reason I want to move.. as I stated I feel my son would have much more oppertunitys if we were to move to a bigger city. And I would also have better oppertunities to go to school and get a jobs that will actually benifit my child as well, and give him the things and life he deserves.

  • mom

    lets see how many fathers stick around if there not forced to pay child support

  • J. Jax

    Judge Eaton is a rotten biased witch. She doesnt care about kids. She just loves placing kids wherever she wants. And when a child cries abuse she calls them liars. Never go into her court. She is racist, biased and ignorant. Moms arent even.allowed to SPEAK in her court. She places kids with the parent with the most money! Sounds like she takes bribes to me!

  • know it all and entitled

    To the loving granny,
    You sound like my ex’s mom dripping with disgust…he beat me 3 months into our marriage and I was 3 weeks pregnant, he and his mother told me it was my fault and now are trying to take my 2 year old away from me bc I am remarried and pregnant. My daughter has never lived with my ex, he has never been a father, his father beat him…look up those statistics…think if you had a daughter…I posed that question to my ex and his reply was “ill teach my daughter not to yell at her husband so she doesn’t deserve to get beat” and yet there are laws to keep kids safe from abuse? Then why do 80% of abusive men who go after custody gain it, then subsequently abuse their children? My children are precious and deserve a life without abuse, its my fault I married this man but my daughter and family shouldn’t have to pay.

  • EM

    Right on the money! It’s not about what’s best for the moms; it’s about what’s best for the kids! I’m going through this situation as the dad of a boy whose mom wants to move him away, and found this post on google. It’s encouraging to see that not everyone believes the lie that children belong to and with their mother, and her alone.

  • Amaris Auslender